The winningest senior class in Stoughton football program history will have a chance to add to its list of accomplishments Friday in the first round of the Division 3 playoffs.
The third-seeded Vikings will host sixth-seeded Sauk Prairie at Collins Field. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Stoughton beat Monona Grove 48-27 on Friday, Oct. 18, to win the program’s first conference championship since 1975, clinching a share of the Badger South crown with Milton.
Stoughton finished the regular season 7-2 overall and 6-1 in the conference, while Milton (8-1, 6-1) defeated Watertown 41-27 in Week 9 to clinch a share.
Stoughton 48, Monona Grove 27
The Vikings finished with 528 yards of offense, as senior quarterback Adam Hobson had 406 yards of offense (249 passing, 157 rushing) and played a part in Stoughton’s first four touchdowns.
Defensively, Stoughton turned four Monona Grove turnovers into 27 points in the second half to open up a 48-14 lead.
“We’ve been on a pretty hot streak as far as making adjustments and getting guys locked in,” Vikings coach Dan Prahl said. “We made a couple tweaks, but really we were just missing tackles, stopping our feet and dropping our head and reaching with our arms.”
The Silver Eagles (4-5, 4-3) marched into Vikings territory to begin the second half, but Curtis Jaskulke recorded a sack on third down, and Owen Chase intercepted Casey Marron.
On the next play, Hobson tight-roped the Stoughton sideline and outran the MG defense for an 81-yard touchdown with 6:44 left in the third quarter.
Marron fumble into the arms of Stoughton linebacker John Harman on the Silver Eagles’ next snap. Quinn Arnott ripped off a 32-yard run to the MG 1-yard line, and plunged into the end zone two plays later at the 5:04 mark of the third.
Jonah O’Connor intercepted Marron on MG’s next play from scrimmage, and after converting a fourth-and-1, Hobson raced 30 yards to the 4-yard line. Brooks Empey capped the short drive with a 4-yard touchdown run at the 1:54 mark of the third.
Another O’Connor interception led to another 4-yard touchdown run by Empey early in the fourth quarter.
On the game’s second play from scrimmage, Nathan Hutcherson took a swing pass from Hobson, made one cut and raced up the sideline 62 yards for a touchdown.
“I saw the corner come up and knew I had to make a move on him,” Hutcherson said. “I was going to stiff-arm the safety, but he wasn’t close enough. I turned on the jets up the sideline and ran as fast as I could for as long as I could.”
Monona Grove’s Brady Killerlain plunged into the end zone from a yard out on fourth-and-goal at the 5:25 mark of the first to tie the game at 7.
After three straight incompletions, Hobson hit Jack Rilling for a 31-yard touchdown on fourth-and-10 to put Stoughton ahead for good with 9:34 left in the second quarter.
“We ran the exact same play as we did the play before,” Hobson said. “We liked the alignment, I just made a bad read and bad throw. I just had to forget about it. Jack made a great cut upfield, the line gave me a ton of time, and I put it on him.”
A little more than two minutes later, Hobson kept a zone read up the gut and won the race to the pylon for a 47-yard score.
“We initially thought our zone read wasn’t going to be there, but they (Monona Grove) adjusted to a way we liked,” he said. “The guys up front did a great job helping us get vertical, and wideouts Konner Knauf, Jack Rilling and Nathan Hutcherson blocked great downfield.”
Stoughton’s Teddy Baldukas recorded a key pass breakup in the end zone on fourth-and-19 from the Stoughton 31, but MG trimmed its deficit to 21-14 at intermission. Marron scrambled for 30 yards to begin the Silver Eagles’ next drive, hooked up with Camron Behnke for 12 yards, and hit Kameron Reuter for a 31-yard touchdown with 1:14 left in the first.
Marron added an 11-yard rushing touchdown late in the fourth. He finished 13-for-21 for 101 yards passing, and added 66 yards on eight carries.
Killerlain was held to 72 yards on 15 carries. Fabian Jackson racked up 78 yards on 10 carries, including a 1-yard touchdown run midway through the fourth.
Hobson was also 6-for-7 on extra points, but missed a 23-yard field goal early in the second quarter. Hutcherson finished with five receptions for 160 yards, and Knauf added four catches for 48 yards. Arnott had 15 carries for 70 yards, and Empey added 34 yards on six carries.
The Vikings committed 12 penalties for 100 yards. Dustin Woelke was ejected in the fourth quarter after committing a personal foul penalty, and will miss the first-round playoff game.
“We always beat the team in penalty yards,” Hobson said. “We’ve come out ahead on the scoreboard the last three games, but we’ve been beating ourselves.”